The initiative by HRD ministry promises to digitise academic records and increase their accessibility
Rashmi, after completing her under graduate course, wanted to go for post graduation.All excited, she started applying for post graduation courses. She even got the admit for one of the reputed universities of the world. For confirmation of admission , university asked her for original copy of the under graduate certificate.
Rashmi searched every possible place – her flat in Pune, her native place in Nagpur, her friends’ places, her office locker, her gym locker; the certificate was nowhere to be found. As a last option, she had to apply for a duplicate certificate to her university. The process had to be expedited; she had to visit the university in number of times.
The problem seems absurd, especially in the digital era. Why couldn’t Rashmi have a backup stored somewhere – say, on Cloud? Why didn’t the university have any such facility? Why couldn’t Rashmi’s university make an online request to her previous university? In fact, why is the concept of digital documents not in practice yet? Why can’t there be a central repository of all our documents?
Well, all these questions seem to be behind the thought of the National Academic Depository (NAD). Launched in July, 2017 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the depository plans to get every academic institute and every student to register and upload student documents online. The aim is to make the documents available at any time, any place and safeguard them. The response so far seems to be positive. The Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education (MSBTE) has made it mandatory for all polytechnic students to register on NAD. Heads of such institutes have welcomed the move.
What is NAD (National Academic Depository) ?
NAD is a central depository that will store all the awards or documents of a student. There will be three important stakeholders in this process:
- Academic Institutes
- Verifier – Any employer who wants to verify documents
One can sign up on the NAD website according to their role. Once an account is created, the institutes can upload digitized versions of a student’s awards – degree certificates, diploma certificates, marksheets and any other document. These documents will then be linked to individual account of every student. Effectively, this will be an authentic, verified academic record with legit digital copies of all your documents (unlike scans and photocopies).
Additionally, bodies that conduct eligibility tests like University Grants Commission (UGC) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will upload entrance test marksheets on NAD. These marksheets will also be linked to your (student’s) account. Most importantly, you do not need an Aadhaar Number to register.
Why National Academic Depository (NAD) ?
The benefits of this system are, naturally, immense. While every stakeholder has separate advantages, the whole exercise can bring all the academic records on one online platform. This makes the awards accessible from any place at any time. This is, of course, safeguarded with conditional access – only a student can login to his/her account and with a student’s permission only, someone else can view his/her documents.
For students, this means having a permanent, verified academic folder online. Whenever a reference is required, the student can give access to the account – be it an academic institute or a potential employer. This also eliminates the risk of loss due to damage, theft or misplacement (as in the case of Rashmi).
For academic institutes, NAD can eliminate a lot of paperwork. Al their records can be directly uploaded on NAD and be saved permanently. A lot of extra-work, done in terms of issuing duplicate certificates, can be saved. More importantly, authenticity of the certificates is assured. Fabrication of documents can be curbed, in turn, adding to the credibility of the institute.
For verifiers (employers, academic institutes), background check of an employee or a prospective student becomes much easier. All the resources – human, time and money – can be saved. The employer has a direct access (after the employee allows) to the authentic and verified records.
Overall, the system promises to bring in transparency and efficiency to the various processes wherein academic records are required.
How to Register for NAD?
The process is like any other online registration – visit the website of NAD and follow the links that take you towards registration. As said above, you can register without an Aadhar Number. You’ll need to select the “Non-Aadhar” option. (You’ll be sent an OTP to ensure authenticity). Before that, you have to select whether you are a Student or an Academic Institution or a Verifier. The account will be created accordingly. Once the Sign-Up process is complete, your account is ready to be used.
An important point to understand is the costs involved in this. For academic institutes, the registration is free up to September 30, 2019. This will include all services – registration, annual maintenance, uploads etc. For students, registration, viewing of awards and annual usage fee will be free of cost up to the age of 27. This will also include the 1st download of your certificates up to the age of 27. After 27, the services will be charged. (For polytechnic students, the last date is October 10, 2018). The verification of all the uploaded certificates will be carried out by the academic institutes and depositories. The mapping of the certificates to a student’s account will be done based on Aadhar Number or NAD ID.
NAD truly promises to be the next step in academic records’ depositories. It not only brings all the stakeholders together but also creates a large, reliable and authentic repository. While eliminating paper, it avoids many problems like ageing of the document, loss, theft or misplacing. Eventually, you would not be caught in an anxiety-inducing situation like that of Rashmi.